With energy prices rising, switch to a cheaper plan
Compare Prices Now

Best Cairns Hotels | Where to stay close to the reef and rainforest

Our picks of the best Cairns and Tropical North Queensland accommodation in all the must-stay areas.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

If Cairns and Tropical North Queensland are your next escape then you can't look past these hotels. Chosen based on their proximity to popular attractions, prices and locations, we're confident you'll find your ideal stay.

The hard work has been done for you so all you have to do is put your feet up and enjoy the pristine waters and the endless sunny days that Cairns has to offer.

Today's deals and coupon codes for Cairns hotels


Up to 47% off Australia getaways



Up to 25% off Australia getaways



Stay for 3, Pay for 2



Earn up to 4x points on stays


How did we pick these Cairns hotels?

Our editorial team selected the Cairns hotels on this list based on price, location and real customer feedback from hotel booking sites and review platforms. Where applicable, we used our own personal experiences to make recommendations.

Where are the best places to stay in and around Cairns?

  • Cairns CBD: For central stays near restaurants and cafes, close to the marina for day trips out to the reef, and close to pick-up points for coach tours to the Daintree.
  • Palm Cove: For relaxed resorts by the beach where you can swim (seasonally with stinger nets).
  • Trinity Beach: For quieter stays by the beach, slightly closer to Cairns CBD than Palm Cove.
  • Cairns Airport: For easy access to the airport and hire cars. (Note, Cairns CBD is close to the airport and does have more accommodation options.)
  • Fitzroy Islands and Green Islands: For island escapes within easy reach of the Great Barrier Reef.

Best cheap accommodation in Cairns

Crystal clear waters and sunny days don't need to break the bank in Cairns. With an array of cheap hotels on offer, you can spend your money where it matters. You'll want to be close to the main Reef Fleet Terminal, which takes you to Green Island as well as Fitzroy Island. The Mad Monkey Backpackers Waterfront and the Cairns Waterfront Backpackers are both centrally located on the Esplanade, which happens to be about seven minutes away by foot.

For those who are up for some town exploration, then the Cairns Art Gallery and the Museum are within a couple minutes walking distance of the Hides Hotel.

We also recommend Freedom Hostels, Bounce Cairns and Gilligans Backpackers Hotel and Resort for cheap accommodation that is ideally located in the city centre and offers a slice of paradise.

See more cheap Cairns accommodation

Best 5-star hotels in Cairns

If your perfect holiday stay includes a bit of luxury, then these 5-star hotels are sure to tick your boxes. From jacuzzis and saunas to rooftop terraces and pillow menus, Cairns brings 5-star options to the coast. The Shangri-La Hotel, the Pullman Cairns International and The Hilton Cairns are all perfectly situated a few minutes away by foot from the Reef Fleet Terminal, which takes you to the pristine waters of Fitzroy Island and Green Island. Alongside immaculate views of Tropical North Queensland's horizons, you'll also be centrally located to the city centre where you can find the Cairns Aquarium, the ZOOM and Wildlife Dome, the night markets and Skydive Cairns within a half hour walk. The 5-star options don't stop there either, with the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino also providing uninterrupted waterfront views.

Shangri La Hotel, The Marina, Cairns
Shangri La Hotel, The Marina, Cairns

Finder Hotels

See more 5-star Cairns hotels

Best accommodation at Trinity Beach

Trinity Beach hosts an array of activities, from lazy days on the coastline to hiking through the hills. We recommend staying in the main city area where you'll find the Coral Sands Beachfront Resort, Amaroo at Trinity and the Blue Lagoon Resort. The Coral Sands Beachfront and Amaroo at Trinity are located right on Trinity Beach and the Blue Lagoon Resort surrounds the large pond, which is just five minutes down the road from the main beach.

For those of you after some time with Mother Nature, then the Earl Hill Summit Track is merely five minutes via car from the hotels. The track provides a great opportunity for hiking and is in close proximity to Trinity Park Foreshore. This is a great spot for young families, as the water is calm and shallow. There aren't many stays in close proximity to this part of Trinity Beach but we do recommend the Palm Whispers Bed and Breakfast, Marlin Cove Holiday Resort and Sea Change Beachfront Apartments, as they are all within a five-minute drive of the hiking track.

See more Trinity Beach accommodation

Best accommodation at Palm Cove

The Mantra Amphora, Reef Retreat Palm Cove and Peppers Beach Club Spa are all ideally located on Palm Cove Beach. As the main attraction, you'll only be two minutes away from the water by foot. At the northern end of the beach there's the Palm Cove Jetty, which boasts views of the beautiful horizon. We highly recommend taking the short 10-minute walk to catch the sunrise or the sunset. For a day out amongst the treetops, you'll only be a 15-minute drive from the hotels to the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.

Other accommodation that will have you close to the beach and moments from the main strip of restaurants on Williams Esplanade include the Melaleuca Resort, Paradise on the Beach Resort and the Marlin Waters Beachfront Apartments.

See more Palm Cove accommodation

Alternate Cairns accommodation options

For those of you who are after more personalised accommodation, we suggest checking out Airbnb, Stayz and Homestay. These provide a home away from home feel, with most of them being lived-in family houses. Or, if you're looking to save a few extra dollars while you're away, these are usually cheaper than regular hotel chains.

Where to book a hotel in Cairns?

1 - 11 of 11
Name Product Are there free cancellations? When do you pay? Can you use a coupon code? Book a hotel with...
Agoda - Cairns
Payment due date varies by hotel,Pay when you book,Pay when you arrive at the property,Pay in advance to use a coupon code
Booking.com - Cairns
Pay when you arrive at the property
Wotif - Cairns
Select hotels
Pay when you arrive at the property,Pay in advance to use a coupon code
Hotelscombined - Cairns
Select hotels
Payment due date varies by hotel
Lastminute.com.au - Cairns
Pay when you arrive at the property,Pay in advance to use a coupon code
Hotels.com - Cairns
Select hotels
Payment due date varies by hotel,Pay when you book,Pay when you arrive at the property,Pay in advance to use a coupon code
Expedia.com.au - Cairns
Payment due date varies by hotel,Pay when you book,Pay when you arrive at the property,Pay in advance to use a coupon code
Luxury Escapes
Luxury Escapes - Cairns
Pay when you book,Pay when you arrive at the property
Trip.com - Cairns
Pay when you book,Pay when you arrive at the property
Hotwire - Cairns
Select hotels
Pay when you book
Hostelworld - Cairns
Payment due date varies by hotel,Pay when you book

Compare up to 4 providers

Where in Cairns can we find these hotels?

Our Cairns accommodation reviews

Here are our reviews on where we've recently stayed in Cairns to help you make a better decision for your upcoming trip:

Cairns Central YHA

Cairns Central YHA from Finder Hotels

Reviewed by: Alex Keshen, Travel Publisher

If you're looking for a cheap place to base yourself in the city, the Cairns Central YHA was a great option. While it may have been quiet due to Covid-19 restrictions, it was a more relaxed stay than most hostels I've stayed at and the rate for a private room with an ensuite was hard to beat at less than $40 per night.

  • Budget: Low
  • Pros: Spotless rooms, friendly staff, near transport options, ensuite in private rooms
  • Cons: Set back further from the waterfront than I'd like
  • Our rating: 3/5
Check availability

Frequently asked questions about Cairns hotels

Which sites let me book Cairns accommodation with free cancellation?

These sites let you make a refundable booking for your trip to Cairns, so there's less risk of losing the cost of your stay or deposit. Some sites only offer free cancellation on select Cairns hotels or at a slightly higher rate, so it's best to check the terms on your booking before confirming your stay.

Most sites, like Wotif or Expedia, will clearly state whether each Cairns hotel is non-refundable.

See the latest coupon codes

Which sites let me use a coupon code to book Cairns accommodation?

Using one of our coupon codes at these sites will save you money on your Cairns stay. Some may ask you to pay for your stay upfront rather than on arrival in order to apply the code to your Cairns booking, but the same cancellation policy does apply so if you are able to cancel, you'll be able to get refunded.

Which sites let me book Cairns accommodation without a credit card?

If you don't have a credit card to make your Cairns booking, but would like to reap the rewards of one, compare credit cards that offer hotel rewards here.

Which Cairns hotel booking sites have rewards programs?

Get access to cheaper prices, collect points toward free stays and get extra perks like Wi-Fi or breakfast if you book your Cairns accommodation on sites like these:

  • Wotif: Part of the same family, Wotif lets you access the same benefits as the Expedia Rewards program. You'll get access to lower rates and earn points, which can be used toward discounted stays in the future. Depending on how often you make bookings, you'll be able to get bigger discounts and earn more perks like breakfast.
  • Agoda: PointsMAX lets you earn up to 6,000 points for your stay that you can put toward a preferred loyalty or frequent flyer program, including KrisFlyer and Velocity.
  • Trip.com: Trip Coins is Trip.com's rewards program where you can earn $1 for every 100 Trip Coins. It's free to join the program. Membership tiers from Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond have different perks to enjoy.
  • Hotels.com: Collect one stamp for every night's stay. Once you stay for 10 nights, you'll be able to redeem one free night up to the average value of your previous 10 nights.
  • Expedia.com.au: Access lower rates as a member and earn Expedia points on bookings, which can be used toward discounted stays in the future. Different levels of membership get you access to deeper discounts and perks, such as free breakfasts.
  • Marriott: The Marriott Bonvoy Benefits program lets you earn points towards free nights, access special member rates, get free Wi-Fi with your stay and check into your room via the mobile app. There are different status levels depending on how often you stay, starting with Silver Elite (10 nights per year).

Which hotels are near Cairns airport?

Although Cairns Airport doesn't have any on-site hotels, these stays are just a few minutes away by car.

Which Rydges hotels are in Cairns?

You'll find the Rydges Esplanade Resort available to book in Cairns.

Which accommodation options are located along the Cairns Esplanade?

On the Cairns Esplanade you'll find the following hotels:

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site